LJC Requests Protection from State after Latest Act of Vandalism

LJC Requests Protection from State after Latest Act of Vandalism

Monday evening security cameras at the Lithuanian Jewish Community in Vilnius recorded a person who threw a rock at the building and broke the glass above the main entrance. Police were contacted immediately.

This is yet another unprovoked anti-Semitic attack against Lithuanian citizens of Jewish descent reflecting inimical attitudes in society which perhaps have been escalated by anti-Jewish rhetoric in parliament and by propaganda from supporters of the Hamas terrorist group.

The LJC is not a political organization. We are an organization which is concerned with the social and cultural life of the Jews of Lithuania. Among our activities are infant, child and youth clubs and the Saul Kagan Social Welfare Center which takes care of our senior citizens with home-care and activities at the Community. Fortunately enough, when the act of vandalism was committed, there were no passers-by on the sidewalk outside nor people inside where the broken glass landed, and no one was physically hurt. Nonetheless, these sorts of incidents could end very badly. This is by no means the first anti-Semitic attack against Jewish communities in Lithuania. Very recently someone threw stones through the windows of the Šiauliai Jewish Community.

We have also received information concerning Nazi and White Power symbols graffitied on a pedestrian bridge in Vilnius. We contacted the police concerning this as well, since Lithuanian laws forbid the propagation of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, their ideologies and their symbols.

Just recently in January at a meeting held at the European Commission all member-states in a special working group presented progress reports on the implementation of the European Union strategy for combating anti-Semitism and fostering Jewish life. We are sad to report this strategy is being implemented very poorly in Lithuania with an ever-growing frequency of anti-Semitic attacks. And, judging from what’s going on in other countries, this is only the beginning of a rising tide of anti-Semitism. Sadly, our state is failing to insure adequate security at important Community sites, including the Choral Synagogue in Vilnius, the LJC, the Sholem Aleichem ORT Gymnasium in Vilnius and the Salvija kindergarten where many Jewish families send their toddlers.

The Lithuanian Jewish Community asks the appropriate and engaged public organizations for help in this, and for security from the corresponding state institutions. The situation in other countries clearly shows we are a footstep away from real human tragedy and misfortune.

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